Cables snap. Cranes fall in storms. We shall all be pancakes by June, squashed by construction stuff all over town.
At least we could walk on the other side, and I keep meaning to do it. But day after day I waddle right through the concrete mixers (no escape possible if the thing starts gushing just when you get up to it, Yuugh, and you're ready for the East River. It is too horrible, and yet day after day one passes within four feet of them.).
One of the things stone steeples do is telescope. The top falls and all the succeeding layers fall. Towers come down. Everybody knows all those medieval church towers that in the middle of the night just collapsed with cyclonic roar, and my view is that a tower is a tower and the nature of them is to fall down.
The surface marble of the Memphis City Hall fell off once. Nobody killed, but it was a miracle. And occasionally you read of a building under construction in which the walls just slide off. Or, equally dangerous, the windows all blow out.
I knew of a great aquarium in which a tank full of gigantic gar gave way. The glass just split open, without anybody banging it or anything, and the poor gar were thrown all the way across the room (but mercifully none was killed, though it took hours to get all the glass splinters out of them).
As you know, they have an incredible dome in Constantinople. It "floats" and nobody quite understands how it is supported. No chains or anything, and it's not an old cast-iron dome like our Capitol. I predict it will collapse by Christmas.
"Why, that dome has stood for 14 centuries," people say.
Sure. And every day it gets closer to falling, killing thousands. Flat as pancakes.
Some people are not uneasy around ladders and scaffolding and cables. They have seen big buildings standing up, and they do not suppose new buildings will fall. But I, who have laid brick myself, and who love the very thought of building something, know well that sooner or later all these things will fall.
Here at the office I resolved to change my routes. At least until all these new buildings around us are completed and have stood a few 100-mile winds.
Then why, I ask myself, do I peer day after day through the wire at construction sites to see how the thing is coming on? I love it when they pour the concrete and when the guys wander around up there on steel beams. I know how likely they are to drop a Coke bottle. I know how dangerous, how foolhardy, it is to dawdle day by day as the work progresses.
When I am squashed flat by a lunch bucket, falling from a height of 12 stories, I hope I will be remembered as one who loved, and was betrayed by, architecture.
No matter how hazardous, some of us day by day watch the town torn down and built up. They tie the reinforcing rods together. The cranes give a grunt and hoist the steel beams. They could not succeed unless we stood by, and they know it. So at whatever risk, we do our bit and the towers rise. Even though we know the peril. Some of us were just born brave.